With it being a leap year, it seems appropriate that I’ve made some pretty huge decisions over the last couple of weeks, the result of which means that I am taking a leap into the unknown.
The biggest decision I have had to make has been with regards my job. I have been a Primary School teacher, at the same school, for the past 13 years. Two weeks ago I resigned.
This wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I have three young boys to raise so giving up a permanent job seemed foolish, and perhaps a little selfish. I was giving up stability, a good income with all the perks of being employed (sick pay, pension etc.) When I was discussing my decision with a very close friend and mentioned these things, she simply said, ‘Carry on as you are and you won’t be here to see your pension.’ Her words were like a punch in the stomach. She was 100% right.
I won’t go into detail about why my situation at work had become unbearable (it’s too raw for me to talk about), but it’s enough to say that for the last three years, I have driven to work each morning in tears, and each morning, a little part of me has died. It left me empty – empty of feeling, empty of self-confidence, empty of self-worth.
So financially, it may have been a very unwise decision to make. Health wise, it has been the best decision I have ever made. The moment the resignation letter dropped from my hands into the post box something in me shifted. It was like the tiniest flutter in my stomach. I stood staring at the post box, not quite able to believe that I had finally done it … that I had taken that leap into the unknown.
I have always done what I believe is right. I have always gone out of my way to please others. I have always shied away from being daring. When you suffer with anxiety and a trip into town can bring on a panic attack, it has always made sense to keep things simple, stick to what I know, do what’s right for everyone else.
But two weeks ago, for the first time ever, I decided to do what was right for me. It is such a strange and unfamiliar feeling. For the first time in my life, I’m looking at the future as me. First and foremost, I am Mam. I want to be there for my boys. I want to take them to school and pick them up. I want to be cheering on the sideline on Sports Day. I want to sit in the front row at the school concert. I want to give them my time – time for homework and reading, time to sit and chat or snuggle on the sofa, time to play. There will be no more shooing them off to bed early because I have tomorrow’s lessons to prepare. There will be no more sitting marking all weekend whilst they play at my feet.
Secondly, I am Sharon. And what do I want for me? To write. It’s that simple. Writing is such a huge part of me. So, I’m going to write more than the odd half hour I used to squeeze in here and there. I may do an MA in Creative Writing which I’ve always wanted to do.
And once my body is up to it, I’ll take up running again. You may think these are trivial. You may say, but you could do that before. Maybe, but now I’ll have the luxury of enjoying them. I won’t be looking at my watch every few minutes during a run thinking about the mountain of school work waiting for me. I won’t have to give precious writing time up for planning and marking.
I’m not completely delusional. I know we need an income from me. For that, I’ll do supply teaching and I’m also hoping to start some writing workshops in schools (I had a recent meeting about this possibility so I’m keeping my fingers crossed).
So yes, taking a leap into the unknown has been terrifying, but at the same time exhilarating. Who knows what the future has in store for me. For the first time in my life, I’m little bit excited by the uncertainty. Bring it on!
Hwyl am y tro x